Pixel Scroll 6/19/24 No Scroll Comes Between Me And My Pixel

(1) RELIC OF FIRST WORLDCON. You have one day left to bid on Frank R. Paul’s artwork for the first Worldcon program book (1939) at Heritage Auctions. It was going for $925 when I looked earlier.

Frank R. Paul World Science Fiction Convention – Nycon Program Book Illustration Original Art (Nycon, 1939). From the first ever World Science Fiction Convention (aka Worldcon) in 1939! And the art is by noted sci-fi artist Frank R. Paul, which makes this doubly desirable! The original art for this program banner was created in ink and signed in the lower right of the 20.5″ x 3.25″ image area. UV Glass-front framed to 29″ x 12.75″. Lightly toned, with some minor whiteout art clean-ups. In Very Good condition.
From the Roger Hill Collection.

(2) WATERSTONES DEBUT FICTION PRIZE. The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley is the only genre work among six novels that have been shortlisted for Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize. The complete list of finalists is at the link. The marketing copy for Bradley’s book says:

A boy meets a girl. The past meets the future. A finger meets a trigger. The beginning meets the end. England is forever. England must fall.

In the near future, a disaffected civil servant is offered a lucrative job in a mysterious new government ministry gathering ‘expats’ from across history to test the limits of time-travel.

Her role is to work as a ‘bridge’: living with, assisting and monitoring the expat known as ‘1847’ – Commander Graham Gore. As far as history is concerned, Commander Gore died on Sir John Franklin’s doomed expedition to the Arctic, so he’s a little disoriented to find himself alive and surrounded by outlandish concepts such as ‘washing machine’, ‘Spotify’ and ‘the collapse of the British Empire’…. 

(3) HOLD ‘EM BY THE NOSE AND KICK ‘EM IN THE ASS. At Fantasy Author’s Handbook, Philip Athans has an idea: “Let’s Reject Rejections”.

Your query to an agent has been rejected. Your short story was rejected by a magazine. You are a potato and are starting to show roots so the chef rejected you.

Aside from the potato thing, this happens so often to literally every writer, how does this not make us all feel like rejects?

And no one should feel like a reject.

But then, no agent can represent all the authors. No publisher can publish all the books. That means we have to figure out how to deal with rejection. The good news is that’s super easy. All you have to do is develop a thick skin. I heard skin thickening is offered by a sanitarium in the Swiss Alps for as little as €400,000 per treatment. It requires only one treatment per rejection letter, so most trillionaire authors should be able to soak that up. The rest of us will have to remain entirely human.

And no human wants to be, likes to be, feels they should be or deserve to be, rejected.

But then there’s that reality again: No agent can represent all the authors. No publisher can publish all the books.

We have to figure out not how to render ourselves immune to normal, healthy human emotional responses, but to, for lack of a better term, roll with it….

(4) THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. “The stolen ruby slippers will be up for auction. Minnesota wants them back” reports NPR.

This weekend, Grand Rapids, Minnesota will honor its best-known former resident — Judy Garland.

And at its annual Judy Garland Festival, the city will fundraise to bring back a prized prop that the actress made famous. But, it won’t be an easy stroll down the Yellow Brick Road.

Minnesota lawmakers set aside $100,000 this year to help the Judy Garland Museum purchase the coveted ruby slippers of “The Wizard of Oz” fame. Experts expect the shoes could sell for a much higher price.

“They could sell for $1 million, they could sell for $10 million. They’re priceless,” says Joe Maddalena, Heritage Auctions executive vice president.

The ruby slippers are one of four sets remaining.

This pair’s unique story

The shoes were on display at Garland’s namesake museum in Grand Rapids in the summer of 2005 when a burglar struck. John Kelsch, the museum director at the time, says a man broke in through the back door and snatched the slippers….

(5) BICYCLE THIEF. [Item by Eric Hildeman.] Carl Klinger of the Milwaukee Steampunk Society had his penny farthing stolen and smashed. Fortunately, a fundraiser to get him a new one was successful. “Starship Fonzie #40 – Transcript”.

…What’s a penny farthing? It’s that old-timey sort of bicycle with the enormously huge wheel in front and a much smaller wheel in back. You know, the sort that Passpartout rode in the opening scenes of the 1956 film “Around the World in 80 Days,” starring David Niven. There’s also one on display in the Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit in the Milwaukee Public Museum.

Well, who knows why it was stolen, but it was, and police were notified. Usually when a bike is stolen it’s never recovered, but this is a very unusual bicycle. Very tricky to ride, very obvious to spot. So the guy who’d stolen it noticed the news story regarding the theft, saw his own image caught on security camera, and apparently panicked. I guess he had a rap sheet as long as his arm regarding other charges the law wanted to nab him on. So he was living in hiding, the thief I mean. Why someone like that would steal an item so obvious to spot is beyond me. But when he saw the news story regarding the theft, he got afraid that his cover might be blown and, not wanting the law to come after him, he smashed the bicycle, dumped it somewhere where it would be found, and then fled out of state….

So Carl was out a very unique, very expensive steampunk-themed bicycle. And we were all bummed about this. Well, Carl put out a fundraiser to get him a new penny farthing, and the fundraiser, I’m pleased to say, was successful. He needed about $2000 for a new one, his fundraiser garnered $3,000. Karl will have a new bike, and he’ll likely ride it around at the Steampunk Picnic this year.

So, a happy ending to that particular thievery story. We love our friends at the Milwaukee Steampunk Society.

Fox6Now interviewed victim Carl Klinger about the crime: “West Allis high-wheel bike found damaged; Oklahoma man arrested”.

A unique bike stolen from outside a West Allis bar was recently found – badly damaged.

Video captures a guy nabbing it, crashing it and running away with it.

“It’s absolutely not rideable,” said Carl Klinger, the bike theft victim. “It’s not even fixable.”

Those words were not what Klinger expected to hear when West Allis police found his treasured bike.

“When I got there, it was just laying on the ground and it was just completely demolished,” he said.

The unique, old-time high-wheel bike was stolen more than two weeks ago as it was parked outside of a bar. Police knew who they were looking for after seeing surveillance video.

Wesley Yoakum was found more than 600 miles away, in Newton County, Missouri.

…Nearly every part of the bike was damaged. The seat was torn off, the tire bent, even the stitches were torn out of the tool case.

His friends have started a GoFundMe to help him buy a new bike so he can get back to riding again…

(6) ORYCON 44. [Item by Michael Pinnick.] Orycon 44 is being held October 18-20 this year at the DoubleTree Hotel Portland. Orycon is Oregon’s oldest literary and creative science fiction convention. Our Writer GoH is David D. Levine, our Artist GoH is Jennie Breeden, and our Media GoH is Victoria Price. Website: https://orycontemp.tezhme.net/

Writer GoH David D. Levine; Artist GoH Jennie Breeden; Media GoH Victoria Price.

(7) ELIZABETH BEAR Q&A. Long Lost Friends has a two-part interview with author Elizabeth Bear.

(8) …THE MORE THINGS STAY THE SAME. The Guardian’s Keza MacDonald notes “The disturbing online misogyny of Gamergate has returned – if it ever went away”.

…This reactionary under layer of gaming’s enthusiast media, which makes its home mostly on X and YouTube, does not actually have the slightest impact on how games are made, or indeed which games are made. Look at Gamergate: what did it actually achieve? Games are more diverse than they were 10 years ago, not less; I saw more non-white male faces and characters in this year’s spate of Summer Game Fest trailers and demos than at any previous time in the almost 20 years I’ve been covering games. But they can still make people’s online lives hell for a while. I know this because I’ve been through it, several times.

I was running the UK branch of Kotaku when Gamergate kicked off, and so I had a front-row seat for their harassment tactics, which included sending the most disgusting threats imaginable through all the online channels available to them, trying to get me fired by emailing game publishers and my bosses with dossiers of my professional misdeeds and journalistic failings (read: writing about video games from a feminist perspective), searching for my and my colleagues’ real addresses and phone numbers and family members (and posting those details to their subreddits if they found them), and putting together unhinged Google Docs with links drawn between “SJW” journalists and developers. One of these mad documents appeared briefly in a recent Netflix documentary about 4chan, prompting several of my friends to text me a screenshot asking me if I knew that I was a figure in old “alt-right” conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, yes, I did.

It’s happened again a few times since, for various reasons. Unfortunately, dealing with online mobs is a part of the job for many journalists and indeed game developers these days, and despite all the shit I’ve dealt with over the years as a woman covering video games, I’m still rather glad I don’t write about politics. But I know exactly how awful it can feel when they mobilise against you, especially if it’s the first time. They’ll search for whatever they think is the least flattering image of you on Google Images, use it as a cutout for a YouTube thumbnail image, and then rant for 10 minutes over screenshots of your articles. They’ll tweet prominent people in games, trying to get them to publicly discredit you. They’ll set their followers on you. It’s hard not to meet their manufactured rage with a lot of genuine rage of your own.

It’s tempting to dunk on these people endlessly, but outrage fuels outrage – especially now, when there is literal money to be made posting inflammatory nonsense on X or YouTube. If Gamergate proved anything, it’s that nobody has to pander to rage-baiting toxic gamers, or even listen to them. That said, I still don’t think there’s been enough public pushback against this flavour of online abuse from the biggest publishers in games over the past few months, when the consultancies they work with, the journalists and critics who cover them, and even some of their own developers have been caught in an online shitstorm. Take it from me: vocal support means a lot….


[Compiled by Paul Weimer.]

June 19, 1946 Salman Rushdie, 78.

By Paul Weimer: It was senior year in high school that I first heard of Salman Rushdie, and yes, it was the fatwa issued against him for The Satanic Verses.  As a result, he first came onto my radar, but I didn’t pick up a copy at that point.  Coming from a conservative family, even with all the SF I had read to that point, a book named “The Satanic Verses” would be a bridge too far.  I already had had to deal with my mother coming to terms with Dungeons and Dragons.  But one day, after Chemistry class, I noticed my teacher was in fact, reading the book.  I asked him about it, asked him what it was like, and if it was any good.  (This was also the conversation where I learned that ennui was not pronounced en-you-eye, although my teacher thought I was just messing with him). In any event, I waited for the book to hit paperback, by which time I was commuting to Brooklyn College, and so I could read it on the subway in surety and safety.  

Salman Rushdie in 2023.

The Satanic Verses, brilliant, strong and vibrant, was probably my first real contact with magic realism and was perhaps the most “literary” novel I attempted reading that wasn’t assigned in school. I am pretty sure that 19-year-old me didn’t grok the half of the book. Or maybe even that much. But it stunned me all the same. 

In the meantime, I’ve enjoyed a number of other works of his, particularly in audio (a couple of them read by Rushdie himself), like Midnight’s ChildrenThe Enchantress of FlorenceThe Ground Beneath her Feet, and Haroun and the Sea of Stories. In all of this and throughout all of these books, including The Satanic Verses, there is a strong and abiding interest in the nature and the use of stories. I know there is plenty to untangle in terms of immigration, East-West Relations, history, mythology, and faith. Salman Rushdie’s work is a seemingly bottomless well for exploring and investigating these themes. 

Does he consider himself a SFF writer? I’m not sure, but if he isn’t, he has a house on the borderlands, ready to provoke and evoke thought in readers.


(11) DC’S UNEXPECTED TEAM-UP. “Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman Unite with Bugs Bunny in MultiVersus” at CBR.com.

Covers for DC’s MultiVersus: Collision Detected were revealed in DC’s Sept. 2024 solicitations, ahead of the story’s release and show DC’s holy trinity paired up with a variety of MultiVersus characters from franchises that include Adventure TimeSteven UniverseScooby-Doo and more….

…DC’s full description of MultiVersus: Collision Detected reads: “Bruce Wayne, Diana Prince, and Clark Kent each wake in a cold sweat, troubled by strange dreams they’ve had about ‘the rabbit,’ ‘the star child,’ and ‘the witch.’ Their investigation into these enigmatic visions brings them to unexpected locales and unusual characters, but none more unusual than the mysterious “rabbit” from their dreams as they find themselves face-to-face with the one and only Bugs Bunny. What the heck is going on here? And who in the name of the Multiverse are ‘the star child’ and ‘the witch’? The hit video game spills from your screen and into the DCU, and it’s bringing a whole lot of friends from some of your favorite universes with it!”

(12) NOT IN OUR FUTURE AFTER ALL. The New Yorker is proud to share “Six Eerie Predictions That Early Sci-Fi Authors Got Completely Wrong”.

Since the genre’s inception, science-fiction writers have imagined what the future might hold for Earth and beyond. While their stories are often fantastical, many of them anticipated technologies that actually exist today, such as television and artificial intelligence. However, countless more made predictions that were absolute whiffs.

Here’s the first of their half-dozen duds.

1. Nuclear-Powered Soap Dispenser

While many sci-fi authors envisioned the possibilities of nuclear power, Philip K. Dick’s “The Land That Time Remembered” got specifically stuck on the idea of a society where humans washed their hands with “soap dispensers powered by the almighty atom,” and where “torrents of soap spurted forth by means of the forces that birthed the universe.”

(13) DISCWORLD JIGSAW PUZZLE COMING. Paul Kidby’s character art in the form of a puzzle is available for preorder. “The World of Terry Pratchett: A 1000-Piece Discworld Jigsaw Puzzle by Paul Kidby”.

This stunning jigsaw puzzle features glorious artwork from Paul Kidby, Sir Terry Pratchett’s artist of choice, depicting all the favourite Discworld characters. Paul Kidby provided the illustrations for The Last Hero, designed the covers for the Discworld novels since 2002, and is the author of the bestselling The Art of Discworld. This expanded artwork is available for the first time in jigsaw puzzle format in a deluxe gift box with an accompanying booklet identifying each of the characters along with quotes, trivia and more.

(14) MCDONALD’S KILLING AI DRIVE-THROUGH. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Let’s just hope that the AI doesn’t try to kill McDonald’s back. Or worse, take it out on us.

Anyway, you’re not free and clear yet. McDonald’s makes it clear they’re going to try again later, apparently hoping the technology will improve enough to not dish out ice cream cones with bacon on top. (Wait! Where’s the problem there?)  “McDonald’s kills AI drive-thru ordering after mistakes” at Axios.

Friction point: Customers had reported a slew of AI ordering blunders.

One posted video of the system incorrectly believing she’d ordered hundreds of dollars of chicken McNuggets, the Today Show reported.

In another case, a customer was given an ice cream cone topped with bacon, the New York Post reported….

(15) IRRESISTIBLE: YES, NO? “Doctor Who ‘Pyramids of Mars’ 5″ Action Figure Box Set” from Oriental Trading.

Recreate the classic Doctor Who adventure “Pyramids of Mars” from 1975 featuring the Fourth Doctor! This Doctor Who Pyramids of Mars Priory Collector’s Playset features an opening and closing pyramid along with detailed set pieces like a Sarcophagus and Egyptian urns. Complete with 5-inch scale action figures of Sutekh and Marcus Scarman, you’ll be able to make your very own adventure with the Pyramids of Mars!

(16) RED PLANET, GREEN AURORAS. From Smithsonian Magazine we learn, “Mars Was Hit With a Solar Storm Days After Earth’s Aurora Light Show, NASA Says”.

Days after solar storms spurred widespread sightings of auroras across Earth in early May, a new bout of eruptions on the sun brought glowing skies to another planet: Mars.

From pole to pole, Mars was hit by a barrage of gamma rays and X-rays, followed by charged particles from a coronal mass ejection. These led to auroras that would have appeared, if any viewers were on its surface, as a deep green color, reports the New York Times Robin George Andrews.

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. The latest Pitch Meeting is Superman (1978), for some reason.

[Thanks to Kathy Sullivan, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Paul Weimer, Scott Edelman, Daniel Dern, Michael Pinnick, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, and Teddy Harvia for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Mark and Ellen.]

Discover more from File 770

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

32 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/19/24 No Scroll Comes Between Me And My Pixel

  1. Since I already read Some Desperate Glory I was allowed to read your Salman Rushdie bio right away! 🙂

  2. My the prices at Oriental Trading Company have gone up. Back in the day I would order $ 20.00 in Halloween toys to give out to Trick or Treaters and would get a large box with enough stuff to give to literally dozens of kids.

  3. Thomas the Red: I know — they used to be the go-to place for mass quantities of cheap trinkets.

  4. Yes Mike,

    You couldn’t order just one item. they would come in quantities of 10 or a dozen.

  5. (2) Ministry of Time is an excellent first half of a book with a slightly disappointing second half. I’d still recommend it.

  6. (0) So, you liked the title Ellen and I gave the other day, Mike?
    (4) I don’t understand – if they know the slippers were stolen from the museum, why didn’t they go back to the museum? Is this “receiving and selling stolen goods”?
    (11) Um, er, the logo at the top of the linked-to website is why I don’t read comics any more. This does not resemble my idea of “good cartooning”.
    (12) So, actually, Harlan invented email. And never got credit for it. Meanwhile, “dud #1”, I’ll buy someone a drink if they can prove Phil Dick wasn’t joking.
    (13) Oh, great, Ellen wants this jigsaw puzzle.

  7. mark: The museum didn’t own them. They were on loan for display. As it says later in the article:

    “Earlier this year, the slippers were returned to their owner Michael Shaw, who had loaned them to the Grand Rapids museum, during a private ceremony.”

  8. Mike, Thank you for the title credit. Mark and I often brainstorm ideas late at night as we settle in.

  9. (12) NOT IN OUR FUTURE AFTER ALL. The New Yorker is proud to share “Six Eerie Predictions That Early Sci-Fi Authors Got Completely Wrong”.

    Anyone else irritated by this as much as I was? Aside from using the abomination ‘Sci-Fi’ (sigh, a usage battle lost decades ago) it relies on the notion that SF writers are primarily focused on ‘predicting the future’. We all know how wrong that is.

    Sorry for the rant. I’m curmudgeonly first thing in the morning.

  10. Harlan Ellison spent a lot of years trying to program everybody not to use “sci-fi”. He lost, and people who still have a toxic reaction to it should ask themselves why.

  11. Mike said: “…the go-to place for mass quantities of cheap trinkets.

    Back in my letter-carrier days, the Oriental Trading Company catalogs were referred to as “the Tons O’ Crap catalogs.”

  12. Mike Glyer on June 19, 2024 at 10:29 pm said:
    “Harlan Ellison spent a lot of years trying to program everybody not to use “sci-fi”. He lost, and people who still have a toxic reaction to it should ask themselves why.”

    Oh! I definitely blame Ellison! He does have a lot to answer for. ????

    Seriously, it’s not just Ellison. There were others who railed against it – Asimov (who also has a lot to answer for) maybe? Though I don’t know if they all took it from Harlan? In any case, I do bristle against the term and can’t well articulate why. Possibly only early conditioning by those I held in some esteem at the time.

  13. (5) For me, the penny-farthing bike is best remembered as the background of a badge with a number on it.

    OGH: Speaking of being programmed to react badly, yesterday I heard someone talking about buying a ticket to NASFIC, and I had an emotion.

    @Lis: Some Desperate Glory is something special.

  14. Folks, can you help me out? I’m trying to find a title written by one of the authors that comments here. The concept is a starship from our not very far future (only a few hundred years) get’s flung forward in time several thousand years and interacts with the human factions of the time.
    Ring a bell with anyone?

  15. people who still have a toxic reaction to it should ask themselves why.

    It’s very simple. It comes from a lifetime of hearing “Oh, you read that silly sci-fi stuff.”

  16. Andrew (not Werdna) THANK YOU! The title keeps kicking my tail. It’s a good book that deserves more attention.

  17. oooh! He’s got another one. Purchased on Amazon so it’s a little easier for me to keep up with as a book.

  18. ‘Sfunny, ’cause I hear lots and lots and LOTS of people saying things like “I love sci-fi!” I hear that probably 10x as often as I hear “you read that silly sci-fi junk?” Now part of that may be that many people prefer not to be rude to my face, but I think it’s mainly because lots and lots of regular people, who have no idea anyone might consider the term pejorative, like sci-fi! 🙂

    In other words, I see zero evidence that the term actually is pejorative!

    As someone who grew up in fandom, I admit that I used to dislike the term. I was taught that it was bad, and I believed that until I noticed it wasn’t true. I mean, I also used to believe that sci-fi was inherently better than icky fantasy, and that anyone who read sci-fi was inherently better than the “mundanes” who didn’t. Managed to find a lot of counter-evidence to those propositions as well! 🙂

  19. In other words, I see zero evidence that the term actually is pejorative!

    Some of us are older, and lived through different times…

  20. I still dislike “sci-fi” (though we’ve long since forgiven 4SJ for inventing it). I associate that with ignorant movie reviewers who think monster movies are sci-fi.

    BravoLimaPoppo – thank you, very much.

  21. @John Lorentz: Yeah, I’m “only” in my mid sixties! 🙂

    But really, being old isn’t a great excuse especially for a science fiction fan! Shouldn’t we be forward-looking, and at least trying to be more up-to-date than the “mundanes” in our age groups?

    Honestly, at this point, I’m not sure that an aversion to the term “sci-fi” serves any purpose other than gatekeeping–distinguishing the “trufans” from mere wannabes. I don’t think it’s necessarily deliberate gatekeeping in most cases–that was not my intent (or not my conscious intent) back when I still shared the aversion–but I think it’s the only thing it achieves. It makes newfans feel like outsiders because they’re not using the correct jargon. And I fought and beat my aversion because I want to be welcoming to newfans!

  22. Yes, I’ve got close to a decade on you.

    I really don’t have a problem with fans using the term.

    But when the media has used the term over the years, it used to be solely as a way to describe how strange “those people” are.

  23. @12 regarding “dud #1” — it’s not a dud. I live in Illinois; a certain percentage of our electricity comes from nuclear power, and some public restrooms have electrically powered soap dispensers that squirt soap with a wave of the hand.

    So, Dick was right…

  24. Andrew (not Werdna): Damn, you’re right. I’m so embarrassed I needed to have that explained to me…. (Not that it isn’t a good item for the Scroll.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.